HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has been hit hard by coronavirus.
The center announced Tuesday that it’s museum and space camps have seen a dramatic decrease in attendance and significant revenue losses in the wake of the pandemic.
The organization said it has not only seen two-thirds of its revenue drop, but it also has been affected by the loss of operational funds, especially after a four-month closure of space camps and limited visits from international students and school groups. The museum was obligated to close for about two months due to state orders, and even after reopening, officials saw only about 20% of the normal attendance, WAFF-TV reported.
Employees were laid off and furloughed, and the center said it will have to again stop the week-long Space Camp program until April 2021.
In a GoFundMe campaign titled Save Space Camp, the center said it has “exhausted all funding possibilities” and asked for donations to support the museum and camps, noting that without the funds, it will have to close facilities in October. The organization is asking for $1.5 million. It does not qualify for federal, state or local relief, according to Ben Chandler, the chairman of the center.
“Space Camp has been on a mission for 38 years to educate and inspire students from all over the world about space and science, but now we need mission support,” the campaign description reads. “We need the support of our fellow science enthusiasts, Space Camp alumni and anyone who believes in the spirit of exploration to help all systems return to go.”
As of Tuesday, the center has received nearly 7,000 donations.
Among them was a $500,000 donation given by airplane manufacturer Boeing.
“We understand the unprecedented economic hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has caused educational institutions all across the country,” said John Shannon, vice president and program manager for Space Launch Systems at Boeing. “The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a cherished institution that has inspired generations of future scientists, engineers, pilots and even astronauts – many of whom now call Boeing home. With today’s investment, we proudly stand alongside the Center – throughout this pandemic and beyond – as we work towards our shared goal of making Space Camp an even better, brighter, more inclusive experience for our future innovators.”
The Save Space Camp campaign has raised more than $1.1 million in less than 5 days.
Click here to donate.